Director’s Message – January 2016

The time I spend directly on the farm is the most important (as well as my favorite) part of my work at SEMAP. A perk of the job is to be able to buy at all the farm stands and farmers’ markets. Buying food locally is a crucial aspect of community building. We hear many reasons why local food is important but the community aspect has one of the most far reaching results. In an increasingly mistrustful and cynical world, local food puts a human face on our food system, builds connection to our farmers, and generations can experience time-honored traditions of grower and eater. Communities support their farms but farms also support their communities.

There is something special when we are able to see the person producing our food, asking questions about how it was grown or raised, and how to prepare it. Having our neighbors growing a diversity of food helps a community survive and thrive in good times and in bad. The wealth of knowledge a grower provides – whether shared over a table at the farmers market, across a row of veggies at a local farm or in a more formal workshop – cannot be replicated in a large chain store, and is crucial to community independence and interdependence.

Best of all, farm stands and farmers’ markets are excellent places for community gathering. We hope to see you at one of the winter farmers’ markets in our region and also join us at our 9th Annual Ag & Food Conference.

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